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LXVIII

OVERTHROW OF SAFAVI DYNASTY  315
The right wing was commanded by another ill-fated
Rustam Khan, the General of the Royal Guards, and the
left wing by the Vizier. Attached to the former was a
body of Arab horse under its Vali, and to the latter a
force under the Vali of Laristan. Both these wings,
together about thirty thousand strong, were mounted.
The centre, consisting of twenty thousand infantry, with
the artillery, completed what appeared to be a formidable
army.
The Afghans were drawn up in four divisions,
Mahmud in the centre being supported by the best
fighting men. On his right was Aman Ulla Khan, while
the left was covered by the Zoroastrians. In the rear
were the hundred swivels.
The Battle of Gulnabad, A.H. 1135 (1722).—The fate-
ful battle of Gulnabad opened with a charge by the
Persian right, which met with some success. Simultane-
ously the Vali of Arabia turned the enemy's left flank
and fell on the Afghan camp, which was plundered, the
Arabs taking no part in the fighting but occupying them-
selves with looting. The Persian left wing also charged,
but the Afghans by a clever manoeuvre unmasked their
camel guns, which caused great havoc, and at the same
moment charged the reeling column. It broke and fled
and the pursuing Afghans wheeled on the rear of the
artillery, which had no escort. The gunners were cut
to pieces and the guns turned on the Persian infantry,
which also broke and fled. No pursuit was attempted,
as the Afghans busied themselves with plundering the
Persian camp, and according to one account feared an
ambush.
Thus ignominiously fled, with a loss of only two
thousand men, a powerful Persian army fighting for
everything that a nation holds dear, and never again did
it dare to face the Afghans in the field. The Persian
nation had ceased to be virile, and the yerdict of history
is that when it fell, it fell deservedly through its own
cowardice.
battles fought by the last Sasanian monarchs against the Arabs, and I was struck by
the similarity of the circumstances and conditions.